by Julius Gale
JUBA, June 6 (Xinhua) -- China on Tuesday contributed 2,400 tonnes of sorghum to the World Food Programme (WFP) in emergency food assistance to famine-stricken South Sudan.
The WFP said the food aid worth 5 million U.S. dollars will assist 160,000 people affected by acute hunger in the East African nation, including 30,000 children under the age of five.
WFP Representative in South Sudan Joyce Luma said the donation came at the right time as the war-torn country is experiencing the worst levels of acute hunger since 2011 with pockets of famine affecting more than 90,000 people in parts of former Unity State.
Luma said the contribution will allow WFP to distribute emergency food aid to people affected by severe food insecurity in former Eastern Eqautoria State.
"The hunger crisis in the country is dire and the people most affected need all the help they can get. China's contribution will enable us to continue our assistance which is a life-line for millions of people in the country," she said.
He Xiangdong, Chinese Ambassador to South Sudan, said the deterioration of the humanitarian situation due to conflict and instability in South Sudan is alarming and China, as a true friend, stands ready to support the country through both bilateral and multilateral channels.
The envoy said the Chinese government would also donate another 8,000 tonnes of rice in the coming months through the government of South Sudan to rescue the hunger situation.
"This is gift from the Chinese people to our brothers and sisters in South Sudan. We feel the pain of the South Sudan people and this gift will help those in need," He said.
This is the second time in two years that China is contributing to WFP's food assistance operation in the country.
South Sudan has been embroiled in more than three years of conflict that has have taken a devastating toll on the people.
A peace deal signed in August 2015 between the rival leaders under UN pressure led to the establishment of a transitional unity government in April, but was shattered by renewed fighting in July 2016.
The UN estimates that 1.5 million people have been forced into neighboring countries and another 7.5 million people across the country are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection, and a localized famine was declared in February in parts of northern Unity state.